Is Garlic Water The Key To A Thriving Orchid Plant? Our Houseplants Expert Weighs In

Garlic — it's good for keeping away vampires and controlling garden pests. It could also be the key to a thriving orchid plant. Many garden enthusiasts swear by spiking your flower's water with garlic as a natural pesticide, fungicide, and fertilizer to help your orchids thrive. But does it actually work? In an exclusive House Digest interview, we spoke to houseplant expert Samantha Hermann – @houseplusplant on all channels — to find out if there's any truth to this hack. She shared that while the two-ingredient fertilizer might have some nutrients, it will take a little more than seasoned water to care for this popular flower.

"No, garlic water is not the key to a thriving orchid plant," Hermann explained. "They need a balanced fertilizer with all the essential macro and micronutrients. Garlic-infused water doesn't contain nearly enough nutrients." It seemed like a feasible gardening tip, but if you're relying on garlic water for gorgeous blooms, you're out of luck. Fortunately, Hermann did share another way you can use garlic to benefit your orchid plants and the best water for these tropical flowers.

Garlic water is not a sufficient fertilizer for orchids

Using garlic water as orchid fertilizer is not a far-fetched idea since the root vegetable does contain valuable nutrients, but infusing it in water is not how you'll reap garlic's benefits. "There are a lot of 'wives tales' around using food scraps as fertilizer such as banana peels, eggs shells, etc. because they do contain trace amounts of the macronutrients plants need (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium)," Samantha Hermann exclusively told House Digest. "The problem with this though is most of these scraps need to be broken down by microbes to be readily available for plants." Soaking the cloves in H2O doesn't allow for the decomposition orchids will respond to.

Hermann said, "The best option to get the most out of food scraps for your plants is to create a compost pile and let the microbes go to work, then add the finished compost into your garden soil." You can make your own DIY compost with garlic peels or cloves and work it into the flower bed or pot with your orchid plants. When it comes to the best water for your orchids, you can't beat what nature provides.

Rainwater is the best H2O for orchids

"The best water for your orchid would be rainwater," Samantha Hermann shared in an exclusive House Digest interview. "It's naturally soft and does not contain chemicals like city water. It's slightly acidic, which is what plants prefer, plus it contains trace amounts of organic matter and nitrates — the most bioavailable form of nitrogen." You don't need to marinate rainwater with any food scraps to infuse it with nutrients, and there isn't any risk of chlorine like with tap water, which can harm your orchids. Furthermore, rainwater is technically free. Rather than spending money on water filters or distilled water, you can DIY your own rain barrel.

For a thriving orchid plant, Hermann said, "I'd suggest collecting rainwater for your orchids (and all houseplants, for that matter) while also using a fertilizer that contains a guaranteed N-P-K analysis to keep your orchids and plants in tip-top shape." So save the garlic for dinner and opt for expert-approved rainwater and fertilizer instead.